Third Base belongs to Mark Reynolds

Third Base belongs to Mark Reynolds

Despite tying a major league position player record by striking out in nine straight plate appearances this month and hitting below .200 in June and July, Mark Reynolds' job as the Arizona Diamondbacks' starting third baseman is not in jeopardy. The Diamondbacks may have lost two straight to the Padres and see their division lead dwindle to one game, but they are not about to panic.

INSIDE PITCH

The Diamondbacks' lead in the National League West is slipping, but Mark Reynolds' job security apparently isn't.

Before Arizona's 6-4 loss to division rival San Diego on Tuesday brought the club's tenuous lead to just one game over the Padres, manager Bob Melvin delivered a message to the rookie.

"He told me I was still the (team's) third baseman," Reynolds said.

Reynolds hadn't been in the lineup for the past three games after suffering through a bad slump that included going 0-for-16 with 13 strikeouts entering Tuesday's game. He went 1-for-4 with two more strikeouts in Tuesday's start.

"He said he was giving me a couple days to get your head back in it," Reynolds said. "He said not to get my confidence down; we know you've got the ability and go out there and do it."

It's been a struggle, though, for Reynolds, who hit .326 in May after being recalled from Class AA Mobile, only to bat .178 over the next two months. He's now hitting .267 overall.

"About as high as you can go and about as low as you can go," he said. "It's obviously something I'm going to want to work on for next year, to be more consistent. That's part of kind of learning on the go at the big-league level. You've got to learn from the experience this year. Hopefully I'll get more consistent."

PADRES 6, DIAMONDBACKS 4: Mike Cameron homered to trigger a four-run sixth inning off Diamondbacks ace Brandon Webb, and San Diego rallied to beat Arizona and pull within one game of the division leader in the National League West.

Cameron's home run led off the inning, and after a walk to Milton Bradley, Webb allowed consecutive singles to Adrian Gonzalez and Khalil Greene, whose single to center field gave the Padres a 4-3 lead.

Webb had allowed four earned runs for the first time since July 7, but things were only starting to spiral out of control. Webb fielded a Kevin Kouzmanoff bunt and turned toward third base, where he appeared to have a play. Instead, he spun and threw to first base, where first base umpire Lance Barksdale ruled that Orlando Hudson's foot was not on the bag, a call that Diamondbacks managed Bob Melvin disputed, ultimately leading to his ejection, his second in the past five games.

Josh Bard followed with an RBI single, and Webb later hit pinch hitter Rob Mackowiak with a pitch, forcing in another run.

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Diamondbacks led the NL West by five games on Aug. 19, but that advantage was trimmed to one game Tuesday by the second-place Padres, who have won the first two of a four-game series at Petco Park. Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin, however, wasn't about to panic. 

"We've lost two games," he said.  "It's not the end of the world."

--1B Tony Clark said he suffered a concussion during an accident at home Sunday morning, but he would not go into specifics about it. He did say he wasn't doing anything that the club wouldn't have wanted him doing, however.  He has been available to pinch hit the past two games.

--The Diamondbacks face Padres RHP Greg Maddux on Wednesday, and the veteran is just 1-10 with a 5.28 ERA in his career against Arizona. "I don't like to talk about that," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's a Hall of Famer. Every time he takes the mound, we realize we're going up against a Hall of Famer. We've been very fortunate to have some success off of him. We'll just leave it at that. Hopefully, it continues."

--1B Conor Jackson went 3-for-3 with a home run and a walk Tuesday, raising his average to .284.  He is batting .321 with 4 homers in August, his highest total for any month this year.

--RHP Brandon Webb had won six consecutive decisions until losing Tuesday night in San Diego.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're so young, we just go out there and don't really care where we're playing, who we're playing, who's pitching. We just go out there and play hard." -- Diamondbacks rookie third baseman Mark Reynolds.

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